The Greene County Commission has closed on the land that will be used for construction of the new Greene County Jail and offices for the Greene County Sheriff’s Department.
The 23-acre plot is located in the northwest part of the County, east of White Chapel Cemetery and south of Springfield-Branson National Airport along Division Street and Hazeltine Road. The plot is being purchased from SCI Missouri Funeral Services for $679,545 and is expected to be closed on by the end of 2019.
Sheriff Jim Arnott told OI that the public entrance for the new facility will be facing Division Street.
“A great deal of hard work and due diligence has been conducted to get to this point and the citizens of Greene County can be proud that a suitable location has been determined to best use the funds and resources we have been entrusted with to make this project a reality for the community,” Greene County Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon said in a statement.
The land purchase for the jail became a necessary item after the county determined in May 2019 that an on-campus facility would no longer be a financial or long-term benefit to the County. Because of the small footprint of the building that would be necessary to stay on campus, the jail would need to be an eight-story facility. The building would also not be able to be expanded in the future.
The new facility design allows a horizontal layout using cell pods that allow for more indirect supervision of prisoners by less overall Sheriff’s department personnel; the change will save the county $95 million in staffing costs over 20 years from the original plans.
Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott told OI the costs of transport officers to handle increased transportation between the new jail location and the courthouse is included in the predicted $95 million in savings to the county.
The Greene County Sheriff’s Office will move most of their operations into the new facility. The Sheriff will maintain a facility inside the courthouse and maintain a presence on the Greene County government campus.
“We will have a presence inside the courthouse, just smaller than we do today,” Arnott told OI. “That cost of that is also factored into the $95 million in savings to the county over the previous plans.”
“One of the things i’m most excited about is that the 96 million in staffing savings will continue even after the 20-year period,” Commissioner John Russell told OI.
The new jail facility will not only almost double the number of jail beds from 708 to 1,407, but it will also be more secure for the community: the current jail has 30 schools within two miles of the facility; the new location will have only three schools within two miles. Greene County officials did not deny the distance from schools was a factor in the selection of the site.
County officials anticipate breaking ground on the new jail and Sheriff’s Office in the first half of 2020.
(story updated with headline photo of artist’s rendering of the new facility)